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Kurdish, Northern

A language of Turkey (Asia)

ISO 639-3: kmr

Population 3,950,000 in Turkey (1980). Population total all countries: 9,113,505. Ethnic population: 6,500,000 in Turkey (1993 Johnstone).
Region The majority are in provinces of Hakkari, Siirt, Mardin, Agri, Diyarbakir, Bitlis, Bingol, Van, Adiyaman, and Mus. Also in Urfa, Kars, Tunceli, Malatya, Erzurum, Marash, Sivas, and other provinces. Communities in central Turkey (Cankiri, Cihanbeyli, near Konya). Many live in large cities in western Turkey (including Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir). Also spoken in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Russia (Europe), Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, USA.
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Kirmancî, Kermancî, Kurdi, Kurdî
Dialects Boti (Botani), Marashi, Ashiti, Bayezidi, Hekari, Shemdinani. Differences in speaking among dialects, but all use the same written form.
Classification Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western, Northwestern, Kurdish
Language use Language of wider communication. Positive language attitude. Not many speakers use Turkish.
Language development Literacy rate in second language: 28%. Much literature produced especially in twentieth century; Roman alphabet developed in 1932; originally based on Boti (Botani, Ciziri) variety and more recently influenced by that which is used around Diyarbekir and other areas. There are literary works from 16th and 17th centuries and onward. Roman, Arabic, and Cyrillic scripts; also in Iran, Iraq, and Syria; Cyrillic script in Armenia. Newspapers. Radio programs. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 1872–2000.
Comments Mountain slope. Muslim (Sunni, Alevi), Yezidi.

Also spoken in:

Armenia

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 100,000 in Armenia (2004).
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Êzdîkî
Language use Language of wider communication. Used in schools, texts. Positive language attitude.
Language development Well-developed literary standard and much literature. Some classes in schools.
Comments Yezidi.
   

Azerbaijan

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 20,000 in Azerbaijan (1989 census).
Region Originally around Basargechar, Minkend, Kubatly, Zangelan, especially Kelbajar and Lachin. Many have been displaced.
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Kurdî
Comments Muslim (Sunni).
   

Georgia

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 40,000 in Georgia (1991).
Region Around Tblisi.
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Kurdî
Comments Yezidi.
   

Iran

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 350,000 in Iran (1988 Stanzer).
Region North and west of Lake Urmia, extending to border with Azerbaijan. Some small communities live in the Caspian region (Mazandaran, Kalardasht [Fattah 2000]). Khorasani Kurmanji speakers live east of the Caspian Sea, in northern Khorasan Province, bordering Turkmenistan. Centers include Quchan and Bojnurd.
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Eastern Kurmanji, Kordi, Kurdi
Dialects Khorasani Kurmanji.
Comments Teaching Kurmanji is prohibited in Iranian schools. Muslim (Sunni and Shi'a), Yezidi.
   

Iraq

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 2,800,000 in Iraq (2004).
Region Northern Kurdish is spoken north of the Great Zab River, in Dohuk and Mosul provinces. Speech varieties, such as Surchi, sharing elements of both Northern and Central Kurdish, are spoken near the Great Zab River. Many speakers have been displaced since the late 1980s.
Alternate names   Behdini, Bahdini, Badinani, Kirmanciya Jori, Kurmanji
Dialects Surchi, Akre, Amadiye, Barwari Jor, Gulli, Zakho, Sheikhan.
Language use Language of wider communication. Positive language attitude.
Comments Muslim (Sunni), Yezidi.
   

Lebanon

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 75,000 in Lebanon (2002 Meho). Ethnic population: 215,384 (2000 WCD).
Region Beirut, also Sidon, Tripoli, and Biqa Valley.
Dialects Mhallami (Mardinli).
Language development Literacy rate in first language: 40%.
Comments Muslim (Sunni).
   

Syria

Language name   Kurdish, Northern
Population 938,000 in Syria (1993).
Region Northern Syria: Northern Cizire (Qamishlok), Kurd-Dagh (Ciyayê Kurdî, Afrin), Ain-Arab, Allepo, Damascus.
Alternate names   Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Kurdi
Language use Language of wider communication. Speakers also use Arabic.
Comments Agriculturalists. Muslim (Sunni), Yezidi.
   

Turkmenistan

Language name   Kurmanji
Population 20,000 in Turkmenistan (1962 Bakaev).
Region Around Ashkhabad.
Alternate names   Khorasani Kurmanji, Kurmancî, Khorasani
Comments Muslim (Shi'a).